tv Locked Up Abroad MSNBC December 27, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
believe me, it can happen to anybody. it really can. we didn't never want to blame each other. i love her to bits. we're soul mates. always. i never committed a crime in my entire life. i never thought that a small lie could spin out of control. >> give us our documents. we'll be out of here. >> that was just beyond a nightmare. >> this is the court. >> a cage. a cage is for animals. human trafficking? are you kidding me?
i couldn't believe that i was looking at 15 years in prison. it was 198. i was living in florida. single again after two failed marriages.98. i was living in florida. single again after two failed marriages. so he had made a decision to just swear off men and marriage and relationships. one day i went to the mail box and there was a letter from my first husband. i hadn't heard of him or knew his whereabouts for nine years. i signed the letter, "missing
you, love methut." i met him in 1981 when i was 20 years old. he told me he was egyptian. we fell in love immediately. but we were young. i wanted to pursue a career as a professional golfer. and he pursued business. the world just tore us apart. so i was divorced from him. now it's 17 years later. we're back in touch. he's in egypt and i'm in the united states. and we started instant messaging and meeting online a couple of times a day. and i feel like i'm falling in love with him again. so one day we were instant messaging as we usually do and
he messages, "will you marry me?" i'm thinking, do i really know medhat? is this the right thing to do? and i remembered that moment at the altar. and so i e-mail back, yes, of course. and so i'm coming around the corner and the reality of the situation comes in. what am i doing? i've only been in touch on e-mail. only spoken a few times on the phone. and now i'm going to marry him? but immediately, when our eyes
met, the 15 years that we hadn't seen each other, it was just like it melted away. i was nervous. but never for a second did i doubt this i could trust medhat. it was like a fairlytale. it was almost like it was too good to be true.ytale. it was almost like it was too good to be true. so medhat and i, we had been married for a while. it was great. it was wonderful. but i had this desire to be a mother. but i'd been through menopause so i can't have children.
one day medhat and i were on the bus together and a muslim lady came on the bus with her baby. and i just said to medhat, i want to adopt a baby. and he goes, our whole life will change. >> i know that. but i really want to adopt one. then he said, okay. we'll do it. it never once entered my mind that there would be any kind of a complication or anything that would go wrong. medhat and i being christian, we decided to go to the cathedral in cairo and ask about adoption.
it takes us into like a huge room. and i see at the end of the room the coptic bishop, they wear a black, looks like a dome hat. i'm at the threshold of my dream of many, many years. i was sitting before him expecting him to ask me the, quote, heavy questions. >> so you are american? >> is this the interview? >> when is the interview going to start? but then i hear the official speaking to medhat. and i can tell by medhat's
reaction that it's a go. he said one last thing to medhat. >> be discreet. >> why? why do we have to be discreet? is there something wrong with what we're doing? but i just suppressed all of that because i was finally going to have my baby. i can't believe how naive i was at the time it. never would have guessed that only a few months later, i wouldn't have been able to trust anybody. it was sunday march 9th, 2008. it was 4:00 in the afternoon. and the phone rang. >> hello? >> so medhat gets on the phone.
he's got a big grin on his face and he goes, it's a boy. we need to go and pick him up at 7:00. >> oh, my god! >> it was like, we're parents! so we got to the address. really beautiful apartment building. so she brought us in to see the nun who was going to give us the baby. i was just antsy. i'm looking around the room, you know. what's he goes to look like? i hope he's cute. so a couple of minutes later, this girl comes in with this beautiful, beautiful baby boy.
and i remember just looking at him going, oh -- you know, i mean, i just took him in my arms and i was just gorgeous. and it was love at first sight. i file his little tiny hand holding on to my finger. i was just floating. i was just enamored by this little baby boy. my baby. he's beautiful. beautiful. and i heard medhat saying to the nun, where's the papers? she said, we don't do the papers. so i was looking at medhat. i could tell he was thinking the
same thing what is thinking. what is this? what kind of adoption is this? if this nun is with the church, why can't she give us a document saying we have officially adopted this baby? but there was no way that i was going to leave my baby behind. so we left the home without any papers, but we left with our little baby. i should have known then that something was not right.
and just stayed awake the whole night. we get the pampers send the milk. but we still -- we need papers. before we could even sit down and discuss it, like what should we do? a family member gave us the phone number of another nun we could call that could help get the papers. her name was theresa. knowing what i know now, i wish we had just thrown that number away, but we didn't. we headed to this nun theresa's
orphana orphanage. when we got to the house, the first thing that caught my attention was this chain with a big padlock. if it's an orphan house, why a chain with a padlock? she opened the door and she was dressed like a nun. i can't put my finger on it, but i just wasn't that comfortable with her. and so she said, i know a doctor who will write a note saying that he delivered the baby and we can take this letter to the health office and they will issue you a birth certificate.
>> it says you are mother and you are father. >> when i heard that, i felt sick. physically sick. >> plus i need $50. >> is this an illegal adoption? i would have never imagined that in order for me to keep my baby, i would have to lie on a birth certificate. i never even imagined that i was capable of doing that. but i just, i had bonded with my baby. and i was sure that would be the last lie i would ever have to tell. we agreed, okay, we'll do it.
we waited two or three days. and then medhat went and picked up the birth certificate. his name was the father and i was on as the mother. we named it marco. even though it wasn't the truth, i felt reassured knowing that this was, in fact, a legal government document that gave me rights to be, you know, that i'm his mother. at that point what is just like, i am never going to lie on any document or anything ever again. but i was wrong. i loved being a mother. i loved it. i had waited 46 years for this
moment and i wanted to just take it all in. i saw medhat in a new light. he was just a great father. life couldn't get any better. one day after we got home from the beach, i checked my e-mails. i had gotten an e-mail from my sister. my mother had cancer. i have to, you know, i have to go. now we had had marco for six months. why didn't i take marco with me so my mother could meet her grandson? but marco needs a visa so he can travel with me to the united
states. so medhat, marco and i went to the american embassy for me to get marco's visa. >> number 4 please? >> i came to the window. he said -- >> can i see your paperwork, please? >> sure. >> so i was picturing getting to new york and there i was with marco and picturing that my mother would be so happy to meet him. he came back -- >> are you american? >> i said, yes. >> i'm sorry. we are not going to be able to issue a visa for your son. >> your son has to travel on an american passport. >> we need to you fill out this application. >> he hands me the application. i saw a place that i have to sign that i am his birth mother.
it literally scared me to death. i have to lie in front of the embassy official. i had already said i am never going to lie on any document ever again. right then, had i just walked out, maybe everything would have been different. but instead i just lost it. >> i don't have time for that. i need to travel with a visa. i don't have time for the application process. >> and he told me -- >> please sit down for a minute. >> i sat down and i was crying. i guess it might have seemed like desperation.
people were noticing. there was like a paranoia that started to rise up in me. what must they be thinking of me? why was she so out of control? >> susan haglof? >> he called me back to the window. what am i going to do? i had to be with me mother. i had to be with her. also being a new mother to marco, i couldn't be separated from him. i decided to do it. i just hope that he accepts the document and no more questions will be asked. the next morning we wake up and the phone rings.
and medhat answers the phone. >> hello? >> it's the american embassy. we need one more thing. we need a note from your doctor verifying that he delivered the baby. what is going on? they don't believe us. i'm realizing now that i'm in something. i had to lie again. so i'm getting in deeper and deeper and deeper. carnie wilson. thank you. can you hold on? ♪ hold on for one more day really? hey, i know there's pain. why do you lock yourself up in these chains? ♪
this would be so easy if you had progressive. our mobile app would let you file a claim and help you find one of our service centers where we manage the entire repair process. things will go your way if you hold on. [ sighs ] someday somebody's gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodbye. ♪ say goodbye no, you just made it weird.
skin crawl. so medhat and marco and i go back to theresa's. theresa said, i'm going to help you. medhat and i will go and get the letter, and you stay here with marco. >> we come back in one hour. >> that next morning, medhat and i brought the letter to the embassy. as nervous, scared as i was, there was still that shred of hope, we're going to go there and they're going to give us the passport. we dropped it off at the desk. and i felt all of a sudden there was a mood change.
>> do you have any pictures of when you were pregnant? >> pictures? i can do the documents, but there's no physical way that i can provide pictures of me when i was pregnant. i was suffocating. i was enclosed and i was in a trap. and i just got angry. you know what? just, i want to cancel the application. give me my papers back, okay? >> he says, meet me upstairs. and i was looking at medhat. i'm thinking, what is going on here? he said -- okay, look, we know that child's not yours. if you try to leave the country with that baby, you are going to be charged with kidnapping. when i heard the word "kidnapping," i looked over at medhat and i felt a lump in my throat. kidnapping? no, no, no what's he saying?
that is our child. >> i may have lied on the application, but i'm certainly not a kidnapper. >> this is all -- give me my documents. >> that child is not yours. >> give me my papers. i felt like i was being attacked. >> give us our documents and we'll be out of here. finally he said, okay. i was just witnessing through the glass this hive of people at one desk. maybe they weren't going to cancel the application. maybe they weren't going to give us our documents back. those people were doing something with regard to us. i couldn't figure out what it was. i'm just trampling.
there was one lady. i felt like she was looking at me with pity, like, you don't know what's going on. he gives us a paper and he says, we need to go to a lawyer. and medhat and i get outside of that embassy. almost like hyperventilating. wondering, what does this paper say? okay. they're basically saying if we don't have pictures we have to submit dna evidence. i can't not provide pictures. i cannot provide dna evidence. i'm not his real mother. but after reading this document a relief come over us that after
90 days, if we don't actually submit dna evidence, we will get our documents back and our case will be considered abandoned. i'm thinking, thank god. i traveled alone to be with my mother and marco stays with medhat. the surgery was a success and they removed all of the cancer. she's recuperating. she's doing good. we were all so happy about that. i got back to cairo and we just felt like now we can move forward with our life. so we were looking forward to having our first christmas with marco. so i had just finished putting up the christmas lights. all of a sudden we hear, bam,
bam, bam! really loud. and it was like, who's that? is that your brother? medhat goes to the door. medhat comes back in and he looks over at me. and he goes, it's the police. i can't believe we're finally doing this. all of this... stacey, benjamin... this is daniel. you're not just looking for a house. you're looking for a place for your life to happen. zillow.
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i was shaking. i got marco and wrapped him up in his little blanket. i felt very intimidated and vulnerable. they loaded us into a metal car. it was very dark and smoky. i'm getting more and more conce concerned. did the embassy tell them i'm a kidnapper or something? they start walking us into this police station.
it was if the walls -- it was like we were going through a maze. and they took medhat. they told me, you know -- >> sit down. >> i hear, i hear this raised voices. constant yelling and maybe i even heard slamming on the table. i said, where's head mat? what are you doing with him? they just looked at me like -- i thought to myself, are they going to torture him? it just terrifies me.
then they brought me into this room. it was dark. they were all on their cell phones. all i could hear was, susan haglof. i was just like, petrified. i was sitting right in front of this desk in front of this man. they start telling me -- >> that is not your baby. >> this is my baby. >> i looked over and i saw our documents from the embassy. >> this is not a court. i want a lawyer. >> there's going to be a court or something, isn't there? and the guy goes -- >> this is the court. >> then marco started crying. so i stood up with him and the
man says, sit down and i go, but he's crying. and he goes, sit down. and he goes -- i know that it's not injure son. >> i go, how do you know that? and he goes, because you can't give it suck. and the guy at the desk said to one of the guys go take the baby. so a man came over. he was going to try to take marco out of my arms. and i said, you can't take my baby. you can't take my baby.
he looked at the guy and he was like -- don't take the baby. and he goes -- >> if these are false documents, you are going to be in a lot of trouble. >> you're looking at 7 to 15 years in prison if those documents are not real. my mind couldn't even comprehend what he was saying. 7 to 15 years in prison. the thing is, about half of men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction. well, viagra helps guys with ed get and keep an erection.
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they took me back out of the room. at this point, i don't know where medhat us. right at the bottom of the stairs, there was a big black metal door. i don't know what's on the other side of that door. i didn't know if it was just like a solitary confinement. bam! and a clang and a -- as i'm going into the cell, i realize, they're probably going to take him from me. i had to start accepting that in my mind. i just was thanking god, you
know, that i had the opportunity, you know, to be a moth mother. a few minutes later, you can hear the padlock open and from the outside. one of the police officers looks over to me and he goes, give the baby to him. i had kind of started to make myself detach. you know what i mean? so that i wouldn't totally just fall apart. i just gave it to the man.
i'll never forget that moment in time. i can still hair marco crying, you know, as they took him. the cry was all the way up the stairs until i couldn't hear it any more. i was thinking, i can't live like this. i just wanted to curl up and die. so days passed. one night police officers took water and just threw water on us. it was just degrading.
i recognized theresa as the nun, but i couldn't understand why they were putting us together as some kind of a group. the lawyers start talking to the judges. and after the meeting with the judges, our lawyer came and he was not looking positive. >> i've got bad news. >> they have made a gang out of you and they are accusing you of human trafficking. i looked at medhat and i go, human trafficking? are you kidding me? human trafficking? that's a horribly serious crime.
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i couldn't believe that we got sentenced. at that moment, the room was just quiet. i mean it was noisy, but to me it was like it was quiet. i had never in my wildest nightmare would have ever imagined that i would end up in pris prison. you'll never believe the dorm i was sent to. the dorm with the murderers. go in, go in. where? go where? there was no place in there.
i was just in shock. i can't do it. i'll never survive. it scared me to fall asleep. so that night i just didn't let myself fall asleep. it's amazing how i adjusted to this new reality. i would get up in the morning and do my bible reading and my praying. i prayed, i said, god, just help me, judge just help me. and he was helping me to just get through it, but there wasn't one day that went by that i didn't think about marco and
wonder about his well-being. i had many, many dreams about marco. though were always dreams that i was going to be getting him back. and one particular dream, i dreamed that i went to the house where he was staying and he actually came towards me and ran into my arms and i picked him up and i was holding him. we spent two years and four days in prison. the day of our release finally arrives, and i know that i'm going to be reunited with medhat. i'm looking around and i was going, is that medhat?
it was hard to adjust back to normal life. that first night that we were released, i woke up in the middle of the night wondering, would we be able to get marco back? so we called the lawyer. he told us where he was. he told us that he found out that they had changed his identity and they had changed his religion.
i felt like, you know, now i know which don't have a chance at fostering him, but there was still something inside of me that i just, i had to see him. we were just going to go to the orphanage anonymously. we got to the house and it was late, you know, it was 8:00 at night. we're here and we want to see the kids and five them a little goody bag, you know, with toys and everything. >> she said it's too late. >> i'm sorry. the kids have already gone upstairs to bed. >> is it possible i can go up and see them on my own? they said, okay. why don't you just come up?
my heart starts pounding. i've heard that he's here, but i don't know for sure. we go upstairs. the first room when i came in, i saw cribs. there was about four cribs. marco was not one of these babies. i was just picking them up. talking to them. and then all of a sudden, i see this little guy come into the room and he's coming into the
room with like this, i know that voice. i just picked him up and i just held him and i just kissed him. i said, oh, you're a good boy, you know, but he was healthy. he looked good. he was strong. you know, i could see that he was okay. but i can't explain just what it was like to just scoop him up in my arms and just kiss him and just hold on to him that one last time. here. this is for you. and he ran out of the room and he goes, mama. and i said, oh, are you mama?
and this nice young girl, you know, said yes. she was very nice. they were showing me he was learning english. so this mama, this girl he called mama was pointing to him, you know, nose. he was saying, nose, and ears, and he would say arias. he was just -- it was just a precious, precious moment. there is a cliche. for me this came to life. it is better to have loved and have lost than to never have loved at all. even though i committed a crime, i have to say that it was worth
it to have those nine months to be a mommy. >> good-bye. \slo lockup sacrement due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. due t matter, viewer discretion is advised. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.t due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.h due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.e due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.e due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.y due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.e due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.s due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.h due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.av haveit >> >> locked in a cell. one comes out. >> just weeks away from completing his sentence, an inmate is accused of murdering his cell mate. >> front page news, i am. holy cow. looks like i'm a real topic. >> one month later, an unrelated killing acures in the jail.